Georgia's Historic Step in Medical Cannabis Accessibility
Georgia marked a historic milestone in the United States by becoming the first state to allow independent pharmacies to sell low-THC oil. This move on October 27 represents a significant step forward in the accessibility of medical cannabis products in the state.
Pharmacies Leading the Way
Pharmacies like Robins Pharmacy in Warner Robins, Omega Pharmacy, and Allen Pharmacy Group were among the first to obtain the state license for selling medical cannabis products with less than 5% THC. Dr. Ankit Patel of Robins Pharmacy, the first to sell cannabis at his pharmacy, expressed his enthusiasm for the law's passage and eagerness to participate in the program. These pharmacies, along with more than 400 other independent pharmacies in Georgia, have the potential to join this program.
Regulations and Procedures for Pharmacy Sales
To sell medical cannabis, pharmacies must pass inspections from the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency, ensuring proper security and staff training on product knowledge and handling. These products are stored alongside other prescription medicines, as mandated by state law. The sale of medical cannabis is seen as a replacement for opioids and is available for 18 qualifying medical conditions, including severe chronic diseases and disorders.
Impact on Patients and Communities
Pharmacy owners like Bill Posey and Dr. Jordan Day see the introduction of medical cannabis in pharmacies as a potential solution for patients seeking alternatives to opioids for pain, sleep, and anxiety. They emphasize the importance of pharmacist and doctor involvement in patient care, offering a more personalized approach to medical cannabis use.
The initiative is part of “Georgia’s Hope Act,” signed into law by Gov. Brian P. Kemp in April 2019, aiming to provide access to medical cannabis oil for those in need. The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission regulates the licensing, cultivation, production, manufacturing, and sales of low-THC oil.
This development follows a revision in Georgia's medical cannabis program, which now has a smaller-than-expected patient base due to system anomalies. Nevertheless, the introduction of medical cannabis oil in pharmacies is expected to greatly enhance accessibility for eligible patients across the state.